I started working on the design of this project knowing that I had a blank slate. This is quite unusual. Usually when I am called on a project, my clients want something new but they already live in a space with fixed elements such as stone or wooden floors, kitchen stone counter tops or fireplaces. They own pieces of furniture they have carefully chosen or inherited and want to keep. Those existing elements tell me a lot about their owners and serve me as the starting point to elaborate their new decor. In the case of this renovation, I knew pretty much from the first time I laid my eyes on the flat, that everything would go and be replaced. I didn’t have to take into account the floors, or existing tiles. This could have been quite daunting but in fact it allowed me to think without limitations about what would look good for this flat, because as you might imagine not every style looks good in every type of home. Each home has its own features and personality that need to be taken in account and respected.
I started working on a first mood board shortly after seeing the place for the second time. We were still far away from signing a contract for the project but I couldn’t stop thinking about what I’d do if I’d be able to work on it. As I said in my introductory post, the flat is located in the very heart of the city, bare minutes away, from it’s two best known squares: the Plaza Mayor and the Puerta del Sol. I am there everyday to check on the progress of the demolition process and being able to enjoy the beautiful historic center makes my work even more enjoyable. The view from the terrace of the 5th floor apartment spins 180° including Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol, a few church towers, and lots of terracotta roofs. This was my starting point to elaborate the mood board. I wanted the flat to feel part of the city, to have an urban feel to it, yet introducing traditional Spanish elements to remind its visitors about the fact that they were staying in an old building. This is how it evolved into this palette including several shades of grey, pale and burnt orange, as well as slate blue which complements the orange and brings in another accent color. As much as I usually spend a lot of time finding the right images and elaborating a mood board this one took me surprisingly little time. Everything just clicked together.
When I started working on a second proposition, I obviously wanted to present a different option from the first one. I started looking at the colors of Spain. This flat will welcome tourists and it was important that their feeling would be one of visiting a Spanish home, however cliché this might sound. What I have seen of Spain so far, especially in the central part of the country around Madrid doesn’t tell a story of green pastures. The climate is harsh, cold in winter and very hot in summer, and the vegetation tells this story: cork oak trees, olive trees or bushes resistant enough to cope with it. I elaborated this mood board that is much more organic and slightly more rustic versus the urban feel of my first board. Based on the colors of reclaimed wood it integrates sage and pine green as well as a beautiful golden mustard reminiscent of the few spring blooms that appear when it rains.
Although my first board came quite spontaneously I can say that I loved the idea of the second one just as much once I had finished elaborating it. The client chose quite rapidly but I’ll keep the suspense a little longer. I’d love to know which one you would have chosen and why. What do you think of mood boards? Do they tell you a story or is it difficult for you to envision a result based only on those?